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Illustrations of people

Code of Conduct

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognise, accept and celebrate those differences”

Audre Lorde

Credit: Nina Cosford 2020

Introduction

WOW exists to build, convene and sustain a global movement that believes a gender equal world is desirable, possible and urgently required. We are passionate about creating safe, inclusive, intersectional and respectful spaces for debate and dialogue. We believe that everyone deserves to have a voice, to be heard, respected and listened to.

This code of conduct outlines our responsibilities and duty of care as convenors of people and festival makers. Our code of conduct outlines our expectations of all those participating in our events, including those attending, hosting and chairing sessions. We need all participants to be responsible and caring to behave in line with our code of conduct. By participation, we refer to in person participation, social media, digital participation and all other multimedia content.

Our code of conduct is how we explicitly set our boundaries - in order to make clear what’s okay and what’s not okay. WOW Festivals and events can often deal with difficult and complex issues. We purposefully create spaces for open hearted dialogue in order to have courageous conversations. We believe that when our code of conduct is practiced well and within a safe space - it has the ability to transform mindsets and create change.

Principles for participation:

WOW is a community of, and in solidarity with, people from every gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, language, disability, mental illness, neuro (a) typicality, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, culture, political opinion, age, skill level, occupation, background or religion.

Help to create a safe space for all participants. Our principles are:

  • Be an active bystander - if you see abuse happening (verbal, physical, online), report it to a WOW member of staff or front of house staff immediately and show kindness to the person who is experiencing the abuse
  • Seek meaningful human connection
  • Be open to transformation (big or small)
  • Have an open mind - be prepared to unlearn patterns of behavior or ideologies
  • Show up to our events from a place of curiosity, learning and respect. Be mindful that curiosity can be uncomfortable because it requires uncertainty and vulnerability.
  • Be collaborative, participate but active listening is okay with us too
  • Recognise and value diversity
  • We believe that calmness is contagious
  • Respect the privacy of participants
  • Be aware of language diversity
  • Handle disagreement constructively
  • Call out biases or prejudices, but refrain from shaming

To be part of a WOW organised event or channel, please opt in, agree and adhere to our code of conduct. Anyone who violates this code of conduct may be removed from WOW spaces. If you have difficulty understanding or following this code of conduct, please let us know so that we can help you.

For Shameless! Festival we have expanded our Code of Conduct to include the following in order to make sure we are creating as safe a space as possible for survivors of sexual violence and everyone attending the festival:

  • We ask you to show up with empathy. We believe that empathy is not only infinite, it is renewable. The more empathy we infuse into our behaviour and culture, the more there is to go around.
  • Please note that empathy is not connecting to an experience, it's connecting and validating the emotions that connect the experience. Empathy is not about fixing. As Brené Brown says, “It’s a brave choice to be with someone in their darkness - not to race to turn on the light so we feel better.”
  • We ask you to extend the most generous interpretation to the intentions, words and actions of others. Our assumption of generosity puts our faith in people that they are doing the best they can
  • We ask you to join us in creating a space that enables each other to ask for what we need and to talk about how we feel without judgment - doing this will enable us to collectively develop strategies for hope.
  • We ask you to refer to those who have suffered abuse as survivors not victims, and to acknowledge and applaud the strength it takes to survive
  • We ask you to acknowledge that people have different levels of support systems
  • We ask you to be mindful that people can be triggered by lots of different factors, some which may not be clear or obvious
  • It is okay to take some time out or to leave for any reason, no explanation needed
  • We believe that people can be vulnerable and treated with dignity and respect
  • Shameless! Festival is inclusive of all genders. Sexual violence affects all communities and all genders and this is reflected across our festival programme.

If you are affected by the themes discussed at the festival, please know that you are not alone.

You can:

  • Speak to one of our qualified therapists on site in a quiet confidential setting
  • Ring the Survivors Trust helpline on 0808 801 0818 which will be open 10am-5pm on the day of the festival.
  • Refer to one of the recommend helplines
  • Take some time out, get a cuppa, chat to a member of the WOW or SHaME team

We are committed to protecting and safeguarding all of our participants and speakers. We do not tolerate:

  • Offensive language and comments relating to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness, neuro (a) typicality, physical appearance, body size, age, race, ethnicity, culture, political opinion, age, skill level, occupation, background or religion. Unwelcome comments regarding a person’s lifestyle choices and practices, including those relating to food, health, parenting, drugs and employment
  • Harassment and stalking
  • Harassing photography or recording, including logging online activity for harassment purposes
  • Hate speech, inflammatory or derogatory language
  • Discrimination of any kind, including micro-aggressions or subtle displays of prejudice
  • Violence, incitement or threats of violence or intimidation
  • Personal attacks
  • Encouraging behaviour that violates the code of conduct
  • Unwelcome sexual attention or physical contact.
  • Sexually explicit, violent or triggering material that is not contextualised and preceded by a warning
  • Deliberate misgendering or use of ‘deadnames’ or rejected names
  • Deliberate “outing” of any aspect of a person’s identity without their consent except as necessary to protect vulnerable people from intentional abuse

Participants who are asked to stop any kind of the above behaviour are expected to comply immediately. If a participant engages in any of the above behaviour, the WOW team may take any action we deem appropriate, up to and including expulsion from all event space.

Reporting

Please contact a WOW member of staff immediately if you are experiencing any form of harassment or discrimination, or if you feel unsafe. We ask all participants to report any behaviour that is not in line with our code of conduct.

Complaints

WOW prioritises marginalised and vulnerable people’s safety. WOW reserves the right not to act on complaints regarding:

  • “Reverse”-isms, including ‘reverse racism,’ ‘reverse sexism,’ and ‘cisphobia’
  • Reasonable communication of boundaries, such as “leave me alone” or “I’m not discussing this with you”
  • Communicating in a ‘tone’ you don’t find congenial

Contact us by email at hello@thewowfoundation.com

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